On Wednesday President Barack Obama announced his budget plan for the next fiscal year, due to start at the beginning of October. The US government will dramatically boost its spending in the clean energy sector by 40%, increasing support for electric vehicles, wind and solar power, and other green technologies.
This is bound to anger the Republicans who have constantly criticised Obama’s support of renewable energy, and worked to see the amount of funds invested in green ventures reduced. What will anger the Republicans even more however, is the fact that Obama intends to find this extra cash to invest in clean energy by eliminating the tax breaks and subsidies from the oil, natural gas, and coal industries.
Based on this proposal it seems obvious that the president will remain a strong supporter of clean during his second term in office.
His administration wrote that, “these increases in funding are significant and a testament to the importance of clean energy and innovation to the country's economic future.”
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Under Obama’s care the Energy Department has grown from a low-key agency to a powerhouse in research and development. Whilst the Republicans throw criticism for wasting government money investing in companies such as Solyndra, there have also been successes, such as the fact that renewable energy generation capacity has almost doubled since 2008.
In the new budget most government agencies will see very marginal increases, or even spending cuts, but the Energy Department will receive a budget increase of 8% to $28.4 billion.
With this extra money it will boost support for electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by 75%, as well as set up a special fund that would invest $200 million a year in vehicle research. The Energy Department would spend an extra 29% a year on integrating new wind and solar power installations into the national grid, and investment in biofuels would increase by 24%.
As exciting as this may seem it is only a budget, and is unlikely to ever be accepted by the Republicans in its current form. Expect revised editions to follow.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com